12 March 2012
Clifford Chance represented the Dutch Central Bank in ING's state aid appeal before the EU court
International law firm Clifford Chance represented the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) in its intervention in ING's appeal before the General Court in Luxemburg against the European Commission's decision of 18 November 2009. The General Court rendered its judgment on 2 March 2012: ING's appeal was upheld and the conditions imposed on ING were annulled. Clifford Chance's Amsterdam and Paris offices were involved in the case. The ING case was one of the most prominent state aid cases emerging from the financial crisis in 2008.
In the ING decision, the Commission approved two aid measures by the Dutch State in favour of ING (an impaired asset relief measure and a € 10 billion capital injection), under the condition that ING would, amongst other things, reduce its balance sheet by around 45%, divest a large number of subsidiaries and accept a price leadership ban.
ING is one of the few banks that decided to appeal the Commission's decision approving aid. DNB intervened in the proceedings to make observations to the court from its position as independent supervisor of the Dutch financial sector. Michel Petite, of counsel at Clifford Chance, comments: "This was the first time that a central bank has intervened in proceedings before the European courts. This was in all respects an exceptional case."
The team that advised DNB throughout the proceedings that run for approximately two years in Luxembourg included Steven Verschuur, Helen Gornall and Pier Posthuma de Boer (Clifford Chance Amsterdam) and Michel Petite (Clifford Chance Paris).